Denizen - Kinodance Company
Tsai Performance Center – Boston, MA
May 2, 2007
Last night Kinodance gave its world premiere of Denizen, an expanded cinema performance that the company has been working on for over a year. For this new dance, Kinodance expanded not only the beautiful film footage by Alla Kovgan, but the ensemble of dancers as well, which included Ruth Bronwen, DeAnna Pellecchia, and Pape N’Diaye in addition to the core movement collaborators Alissa Cardone and Ingrid Schatz. For Boston contemporary dance audiences, Kinodance has been a shooting star to watch in the local scene, and it was exciting to see the company engaging an even broader range of artistic talent for this new work.
As described in the program, the creation of Denizen was greatly influenced by the work of Armenian filmmakers Sergei Parajanov and Artavazd Peleshian - in particular, Peleshian’s poetic depiction of a fictitious pastoral community, The Seasons. In 2006, Kinodance traveled to the Northern Lori region of Armenia to create the filmed components of the work, shooting footage in many of the exact locations that Peleshian used. A scene with a man playing a traditional Armenian instrument unfolds to reveal two dancers rolling and walking along a lush, green mountain-side in the distance. In another scene, two dark figures herding sheep in a field gently slip into a ritualistic series of steps before returning to their ambling gate. These are not dancers bringing something artificial to the land, but artists thoughtfully responding to the qualities interred in the environments they pass through.
It should be said here that while the dance’s origins are greatly indebted to Peleshian’s film, the footage the company shot in Armenia was only one element of the stage performance – and the most restrained element at that. What we saw on the stage was a treatment of film that at times merely served as an extension of the lighting plot or a wash of moving pattern projected on Dedalus Wainwright’s set, which richly evoked grander architecture. Images quietly moved across the stage while live bodies shared their memories of the land - invoking sweeping hills, ancient roads, and the movements of other denizens. What grew on the stage was a sense of nostalgia and reverence amongts the dancers for something that had past. This blended beautifully with the projected film, in which the audience could catch glimpses of younger versions of the dancers experiencing the original environment which was now being recreated for us on the stage.
What was palpable in the evening’s performance and became especially clear in the post-performance Q&A, is the humility and love for open dialogue that drives the work of this creative team. These are artists who are passionate about finding ways to intelligently integrate all the theatrical components they are working with. They were extremely humble in their recounting of their experiences while in Armenia - communicating their awareness that as foreigners they knew they were observing through foreign eyes. What I saw last night was not a postcard from their journey, but rather an evening of reflection, reverence, and story-telling through movement and film.
Last edited by Karl Cronin on Fri May 04, 2007 10:55 am, edited 2 times in total.